In this paper, we look into how country-specific factors shape the interrelationship between childbearing and women’s labor supply. To this end, we compare Italy and Poland, two low-fertility countries where the country-specific obstacles to work and family reconciliation are similarly strong but which differ in the history of women’s labor supply and the extent to which couples’material aspirations are satisfied by men’s earnings. Our findings show that women’s employment clearly conflicts with childbearing in Italy, while in Polandwomen tend to combine the two activities, despite the similar difficulties they face. These results challenged the standard microeconomic explanations and point to the importance of other country-specific factors, apart from conditions for work and family reconciliation, in shaping women’s employment and fertility decisions, such as economic incentives or culturally rooted behavioral patterns. Overall, our study provides thus foundations for explaining the variation in the relationship between women’s employment and fertility in an enlarged Europe.
Lone mothers’ poverty rates in Russia were very high in the period following the transition in 1991, and earnings inequalities between women increased. The aim of this paper is to examine to what extent lone mothers’ economic situation may have also influenced their rates of partnership formation. This can add to an understanding of how the influence of growing economic inequalities extends to other areas of the life course as well. The data used is from the Russian Generations and Gender Survey (GGS), and methods of event-history analysis are applied for the empirical investigations. The effect of occupation on partnership formation is compared before and after the transition, as earnings differences between those working in different occupations grew after 1991. The results indicate that lone mothers working in service occupations, in particular, had substantially higher rates of partnership formation than those working in higher-paying professional occupations requiring a university degree, both before and after the transition in 1991. However, no large changes in the effect of occupation on partnership formation are found for the period after 1991 compared to the period before transition.